India-US diplomatic row: Doctor turned diplomat

India-US diplomatic row: Doctor turned diplomat

INDIAN diplomat Devyani Khobragade - at the centre of the worst diplomatic row between India and the United States in recent times - is a doctor turned diplomat described by her colleagues as "hardworking" and "forthright".

Dr Khobragade, 39, who comes from a family of achievers, is a Dalit, once known as India's untouchables.

Her father Uttam Khobragade is a civil servant while her uncle, Dr Ajay M. Gondane, is also with the foreign service. Her younger sister is an MBA graduate working in a private firm in Mumbai.

Her father, who is seeking support from the Indian leadership to bring his daughter back to India, described his eldest as a brave officer. "She is okay and she is attending office. In fact her career will be brighter," Mr Khobragade told The Straits Times.

Born and brought up in Mumbai, Dr Khobragade attended St Joseph's Convent School and later studied medicine at Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital.

But she did not pursue a career in medicine and opted for the foreign service because, she told a US television channel earlier this year, she wanted to travel and experience different cultures.

Her name had featured in an earlier controversy. Indian media reports said she owned a unit in the Adarsh cooperative housing society, an apartment complex in an upmarket section of Mumbai.

The flats were meant for Kargil war heroes' families but were instead allotted to top bureaucrats, defence officers and politicians. No action was taken against her.

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